The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

I’ve never read a book by Sarah Waters before, but I judged a book by its cover (intriguing illustration plus awards has to be a good thing) and thought I would like The Paying Guests. I wasn’t wrong.

In London in 1922, Mrs Wray, a once-comfortably-off widow and her spinster daughter, Frances, are struggling financially. Frances is doing all the ‘servant’ work around the house, much to the surprise of the neighbours and tradesmen, but they’re still finding it hard to get by. So they’re forced to take in lodgers to make ends meet – Mr and Mrs Barber, a young couple of the new ‘clerk class’.

The Barbers are quite unlike the Wrays and their friends – bringing colour, noise, music and a lot more into the house. Life for Frances and her mother will never be the same again.

I can’t give too much away, as it would spoil the story, which unravels slowly, yet somehow isn’t slow. Gradually we learn more about Frances and what makes her tick and more about the Barbers.

This is both a love story and a crime story. At nearly 600 pages, it is a hefty book, but not once did I get bored. It is a brilliant read and I will definitely be looking out for some of Sarah Waters’ other novels.

The Paying Guests, Sarah Waters, Book review

Author: Sarah Mummy

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16 Comments

  1. This is on my ‘to read’ list, someone recommended it and I I loved the sound of it, so thank you for the reminder

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    • You’re very welcome! It’s one of the best books I’ve read in a while.

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    • It’s really good! One of the best books I read last year.

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    • Thanks. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!

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    • I didn’t used to read much in the way of crime books, but I read them most of the time now!

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  2. This book keeps cropping up in my kindle selections and I’ve toyed with the idea of reading it – you’ve just tipped me over the edge. I’ll get it! Thanks. #readwithme

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    • So pleased that I’ve done that! I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

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    • I always like a long book to get my teeth into! I think short books are a waste of money!

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    • I got a nice new pile of books with my Christmas vouchers too 🙂

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  3. I’ve read some of hers but not for ages. Glad you discovered her and enjoyed it. commenting from #readwithme

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  4. Sounds interesting but I have to admit I’m not really into books set in a different era, maybe I’ve just not found the right ones #readwithme

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